Steak Number Eight
22 April 2013
by Gavin Lloyd
Steak Number Eight have been a name slowly seeping into more and more people’s consciousness as of late. Following an impressive support slot on these shores recently to Feed The Rhino, they find themselves as quite the buzz band. While not many scenesters go-to band of choice, the (depressingly) young Belgium scamps breed of sludgey come stoner tinged metal has seen them attracting a wealth of approving head nods and beard strokes up and down the country.
Despite their relatively short life as a band, new album The Hutch sees the four-piece already evolving into quite the fearsome proposition, with this album delving into darker and grimier territory than their previous efforts on All Is Chaos. Grizzly thrash riffs bring the album to life, sounding nothing short of menacing on ‘Cryogenius’ , while the slower groove of ‘Pilgrimage of a Black Heart’ gives it a decidedly sinister feel throughout.
The Hutch is the sound of a band attempting to reach loftier heights as they embrace a more progressive side of their music. Tracks that often clocking in between seven and nine minutes restrain themselves from escalating into prog-cock waving contests. Knowing too many cocks spoil the broth Steak Number Eight have crafted their songs superbly. Rolling riffs are often complemented by direct drums which leads to a sound that is simplistic yet effective. This in turn leads to a master class in dynamics as songs rise and fall with the swell of songs such as ‘Push/Pull’ regularly reaching uplifting peaks.
Despite relying heavily on flexing their sizeable musical muscles, frontman Brent Vanneste remains a vital asset to their music. While vocals often do take a back seat in favour of the colossal instrumental sections, when Vanneste does make his presence felt he proves himself as one of the most impressive elements in Steak Number Eight’s bulging back of tricks. At times his gravelly tones make him sound like he’s channelling the ghost of Layne Staley, yet he can also deliver some powerful and downright evil growls that would garner the church burning approval of corpse paint enthusiasts all over Europe.
If there’s one slight criticism it is that during the album songs seem to follow a very similar blueprint, which at times can feel a tad formulaic. A few more songs in the vein of the swift and anthemic ‘Ashore’ would’ve been welcome to add a bit more variation to proceedings. That aside, The Hutch is still an incredibly and more importantly well-realised body of work, that sees one of metal’s brightest young hopes make bold steps forward towards gaining that new wave of head-nodding, beard-stroking fans.
Sounds Like: Kylesa, Baroness, Mastodon
Standout Tracks: Black Eyed, Push/Pull, Ashore